When Ivoryline debuted There Came a Lion, back in 2008, I was asked to provide a short review of the record for a magazine. They were a new band to me. But as soon as I listened, I was hooked. Since then I have been an avid Ivoryline fan – continuously looking forward to the day when they would play a show near me. Well, almost two years later, I had the chance to see a live set. With intense lyrics, catchy hooks and an immense amount of energy, the band is currently rocking venues across the country with Madina Lake and The Classic Crime.
At this particular concert, the crowd wasn’t very large, but Ivoryline played as if there were 1,000 people. It was clear that the majority of attendees were there to see the Tyler, Texas natives. Towards the end of the night I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with them. They spoke of the new record, recent tours, technical problems and their take on faith in the music industry. Read on!
(fyi – thanks to the super cool Jess Tack for suggesting some of the excellent questions listed below!)
I’m always very curious as to how bands picked their name – how’d you decide on yours?
Pretty much, we’re avid cocaine users. [laughing] Haha, no. Really, it’s from a Death Cab For Cutie song. There’s a line in it that says, “Ivoryline.” It’s a cool word – not any wow, deep meaning. But cool words we liked and used as our band name! Like There for Tomorrow, or Thursday Meets Saturday Evening…? I just came up with the idea and brought it up to the guys and we all agreed it was great.
Vessels is going to hit shelves in July. How does this new record differ from your Tooth & Nail debut?
There are different types of songs, different types of vibes. It’s our sound, but it’s a straightforward rock record. This record, we just wrote all different types of songs and put them all in an album. They all flow together and they make a good record. There are heavier parts than our first record and a lot of more soft parts. Everybody said our sound matured because we’re three or four years older now than when we wrote the songs on the first record. It’s more spiritual as far as content – spiritual openness. We’re pretty real and honest about the subject and the things we’ve lived, and we share that on the record. It’s a lot more dynamic.
Tell us about the computer crashing in the recording studio when you were almost done? What happened?
Ah, it seems silly in retrospect! There was this device in the studio – and every time we walked in, I’d hear it first. It was very loud. Sometimes I would touch it and just think, “Wow that’s important. What if it just crapped out or something?” So we did all the drums, then went home for Christmas and then went back to the studio. One of the songs was being recorded and everything just shut down. Our engineer said he had to reset everything. So he starts unplugging things, turning things off and on, but everything kept crashing. Slowly, he started seeing how serious the problem was. He started getting more and more freaked out and we all wondered what was going on! He opened up our previous sessions, and there was nothing there. Everything was gone. So we went back to our apartment that night. We came back the next morning and we’re told that the record is gone, but everything would be sent to a company to recover files. They recover files for the FBI and NASA.
The machine that made all the noise…that’s what had broken!
You recently toured Australia for the second time. How was this trip different than your first aussie adventure?
We got to see a lot more scenery and country. We had more time. The band we toured with, we played a show with and stayed the night with the first time we went so we had a sort of friendship going there. So to see them again and see where they are 2 years later, it was really cool. That was a big difference.
We got to do a little bit more. We got to pet kangaroos and stuff like that- saw some wallabies. We did a press conference which was insane. It was our first real – we walked up on stage and they had bar stools and mics and people watched us get interviewed. It was really intense!
Jeremy had the biggest catwalk of our career – the only catwalk! It was a good time. We were there for a little less than 2 weeks.
As far as being a Christian band in the industry, how does that play out in your music and shows?
It plays out however God wants us to. We’ve never labeled ourselves a Christian band – we’re just Christians. We play wherever we get the chance, ya know. We ask God for direction and ask him to have His way in our songs and our shows. We always invite Him into our band. But like, we played Warped Tour AND Creation [Festival] last summer – Christian and non Christian. It just happens.
It’s not really an issue with us. We’re Christians and whatever people want to call us is fine. I believe that all music is God’s music, whether people recognize it or not. I mean, I’m sure there’s some music that God wouldn’t smile on based upon lyrical content. We try to keep the line open to people – obviously there’s a marketing thing with categorizing music. We’re up for being marketed in the Christian music thing and the secular thing. We just live it up to them, we don’t label anything .We’re just Christians in a band.
The point is that people see that you’re Christians because of how you live. People will come up to us after shows and say – are you Christians? And we’ll say “yeah, yeah we are.” And they’re like “oh yeah, we can totally tell.” That’s always awesome.
Labeling a band Christian is not necessarily awesome, because it’s just a label. But if you back it up with how you live, that’s what’s important. That’s how kids and adults alike want to see people who are genuine.
What do you hope to accomplish with your time in a band? What is your goal and reason behind piling in a van and traveling the country?
It’s multi-faceted. Obviously, it’s our career. We want to make money and live and be able to keep doing this, and it’s our passion. Writing music and performing it as well. It’s also a good way to be able to do everything small thing every night. We’re trying to make a difference – bring some truth and love and light to people who could be hungry for that – people who may not ever experience church have a chance to come in and do something that a lot of people get to do. It’s really cool.
We’re here on this planet to be what God wanted us to be, and love people how he loved us and so we try to do that. We also try to make our band grow.
I was Christian on one hand and I wanted to be a Christians always. That’s a career in itself. So my goal in being in a band, and I know we all share this, is that when you find something you like doing, you want to stick with it and find a way to make money doing it. Most of your life you’ll work, so why don’t do something that you love to do? When I get up in the morning, I am stoked that I get to do this.